Zimbabwe Sees Hope as Mugabe's Grip Weakens
Bread is affordable, kids go to school—but there's a long way to go
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2009 8:40 AM CDT
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech at the burial of Zimbabwe Army Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe in Harare, Saturday, March 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Gains are fragile and much work remains, but opposition lawmakers in Zimbabwe's new coalition government finally see hope that they can weaken Robert Mugabe and put the nation on track, the New York Times reports. Donor nations are pressuring for better economic policies, a free press, and other reforms, and “there is a creeping sense that we are in an endgame,” said a diplomat. “Never before has ZANU-PF,” the long-ruling party, “been so weak or the opposition in office.”

Inflation remains rampant, but bread is affordable and grocery stores are full. Children are attending school, though teachers unions say members may strike if their pay isn’t improved. Government ministers don’t make any more than teachers do. “The government is broke, but it’s better to have someone promising something better,” said a third-grade teacher. “Before, it was as if we didn’t exist.”